There was plenty of action for closers last night. Saving are beginning to rack up. Looking at the top ten closers in saves and it’s a list most of us wouldn’t recognize before this year. Some of these guys are here to stay and others are a few bad outing from long relief. Here is the daily dish for Wednesday.
Last night in LA, Craig Kimbrel and Javy Guerra squared off, well sorta. Kimbrel saved his sixth game of the season after Guerra gave up the lead in the top of the ninth. Guerra entered the game with a tie score and gave up a RBI triple to Martin Prado. Overall, Guerra pitched well, he was just hit hard once. He gave up two hits and recorded one strikeout in the inning. Kimbrel made it a bit exciting. He gave up a hit and one walk on 19 pitches, but the end result was three strikeouts and the save. Kimbrel’s season ERA is 1.29 and he is a perfect 6/6 so far.
Brandon League bounced back nicely after blowing his first game of the season last week. He disposed of the Tigers on 19 pitches. He gave up a lone walk and struck out one. League’s ERA sits at 1.86 and should continue to fall. While Seattle isn’t a good team, it has a lot of youth that will give League plenty of save opportunities. There is even talk that League could be traded by or before the trade deadline if the buyer makes the right offer. There is some risk associated with owning League because of that, but if he stays in Seattle you are looking at a 40+ save closer.
Carlos Marmol is a problem. Carlos Marmol has been a problem for his owners for years and it isn’t getting any better so far in 2012. I figured he had turned the corner, but I’m not seeing it so far this season. Marmol blew his league leading second save (tied with 5) Tuesday night against the Cardinals. He entered the game with a runner on and two outs to face Matt Holiday. Holiday promptly deposited a bomb to center field and changed the score to 2-1. While he got bailed out of the loss, his numbers were dismal. .1 inning, 1 ER, a hit and a walk. Marmol needed 13 pitches to get one out. Keep an eye on this situation. Theo Epstein could make a move down the road if Marmol doesn’t shape up soon. A side note in this game. Manager Mike Matheny refused to bring in closer Jason Motte after he blew his last save the night before. The results were terrible. A solo home run in the ninth and a game winning hit in the 10th inning off Fernando Salas.
Over in Texas, Yu Darvish was two outs from getting a complete game shutout over the Yankees. After giving up a single to Nick Swisher, Darvish was pulled for closer Joe Nathan. Nathan threw one pitch to Raul Ibanez and the game was over. No it wasn’t a home run, it was a tailor-made twin killing double play. So two outs on one pitch. Probably the easiest of saves in MLB.
The final dish for the night is for Jim Johnson. He was sent to the hospital with flu-like symptoms. Several people in the Orioles clubhouse were suspected of being sick. He was released from the hospital and looks to be back in uniform Wednesday or Thursday. Pedro Strop filled in for Johnson and got the save in a 2-1 win over Toronto. He struck out two of the four batters he faced.